Thursday, December 02, 2004
Dummying Up and Dumbing Down - Eventually, neither works
Musings on a sleepless night...
Gizmo wizards have invented technology that lets you view programming provided by your own cable TV subscription, in other words, your shows, on a laptop from anywhere -- from another room in your house, while on vacation -- anywhere you can get a cable, wi-fi or any other fast internet connection. Although content and service providers are having fits about it, it seems destined to come to market as a vast success.
My brother, tech journalist Ken Sander, covered an independently developed version in the October issue of Sound & Vision magazine and it's just hit the international big-time media this week.
Ken Sander wrote:
The TV2me signal can’t be distributed to other Internet users because it’s encrypted and point-to-point, not point-to multipoint. In legal terms, it’s the equivalent of time-shifting, but [inventor Ken] Schaffer calls it space-shifting ... similar to sending a signal to your bedroom except your bedroom can be anywhere in the world.I met TV2me's inventor, Ken Schaffer in New York amidst the rock scene in the sixties. He invented a wireless microphone and guitar pickup system used by major rock bands and brought Russian Rock and Roll to the states as one of his first Russo-American ventures. As the N.Y. Times' story relates:
I Want My Moscow TVThe story goes on to tell a lot more about this quirky inventor and about TV2me, which Scheaffer uses to monitor his TV from both his New York and his Moscow apartment.
The story in the Moscow Times (archived and unlinkable) reports:
For Rock Stars, A Satellite TV to GoI'm particularly cheered to read about TV2me today, because I was beginning to feel as if a vise was closing in on independent thought in media, education and science worldwide after reading for the past few days about the government's recent condemnation (or worse) of "public intellectuals" in China, where I'm living now and a drastic budget cut to scientific development in my home country, the U.S. It reminded me that the flow of information, thanks in great measure to the internet (such as it is becoming) and TV (such as it has become), persists in puncturing obstruction even as it reports it. Seems like a reasonable bargain.
I've been reading a lot about the recent and startling resurgence in the "greylisting" of intellectuals in China on internet news and commentary sites but the ever-scabrous Beijing media blog Danwei.org has a concise and biting summary with links.
Here's a snip from The N.Y. Times story on the $105 million NSF budget cuts:
Congress Trims Money for Science Agencybut the best analysis of the research funding cuts is in this Berkshire Eagle editorial:
Dumbing Down AmericaEven the nattering conservatives say they're feeling an intellectual pinch in academia, as the ever-pompous William F. Buckley, Jr. asserts in this Op/Ed:
Dumb Bright GuysI'm tempted to say that sounds like good news to me, but professors should be impartial and I hope they are. I'd hate to think education has devolved to dogma vs. dogma in America's finest universities, but I'd be a fool not to expect the ideological divisiveness apparent in the aftermath of the U.S. presidential campaign and election results to overflow in the coming four years. It may well be a necessary process; breakthrough thrives on conflict and resistance.
There's always somewhere to go with a good new idea. Scientists have had to border-hop for centuries. The truth seems to have a life of its own, regardless of suppression or how difficult it might be to accept. Often, it takes time. It seems to be a law of nature. After all, The Sun May Have Captured Asteroids from Afar.
Mainer, New Yawka, Beijinger, Californian, points between. News, views and ballyhoos that piqued my interest and caused me to sigh, cry, chuckle, groan or throw something.
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